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Sophie Yesufu Interview: Sustainable Superwomen Series

This week we speak to Sophie Yesufu - Fashion Designer, Personal Stylist and Fashion Editor of The Mum Club. In her interview we hear about how she juggles life as a busy creative and a mum, and how she's been building her brand through lockdown.

Hey Sophie! Tell us about Maggies Style Edit and where/who did Maggie come from?

Hi! So, my middle name is Margaret, named after my grandma on my mums side. She died before I was born, but I know a lot about her from my mum and how we're very similar! She was really creative and loved fashion. She wanted to study Fashion Design and pursue a career in it, but due to the second world war, she ended up working for her dads engineering company in the drawing room. A few years ago, I was in my mum and dads loft and I found all her fashion illustrations! All drawn with chalk on different coloured papers. I was blown away by them and so I got some framed and named my instagram and business after her. It’s funny because in school I would get teased for my middle name but now I am so proud to have it.

Maggiesstyleedit started slowly with me just posting fashion photos really. I have been a fashion designer for a number of years, so Instagram was nothing more than a quick post and flick through other peoples images! Then a couple of months ago I decided to change it up.

Sophie wearing the Vintage Lori Cropped shirt and Lilac Contemporary Trouser.

 

How did you get into Fashion Design and Styling?

I studied at Manchester Met in Textile Design, thinking I wanted to do print design, like my mum. However, I really didn’t enjoy it and found myself always messing around on the knit machines. I stuck with knitting and specialised in it, however, when it came to my final degree show, everyone was making interiors or knitted jewellery (as it was textiles) and I wanted to make clothes. I stuck with my gut, even though it was a bit of a risk and with some help and advice from the fashion tutor I pulled it off!

I graduated in a recession, and myself and friends all knew we would have to really push ourselves to find jobs and we’d more than likely have to work for free. I, however, already had other ideas! I had the travelling bug and had had it since before uni, so I decided in my final year I would work part time too and then go off travelling with my then boyfriend to see the world for 3-4 months!

When I got back, without sounding completely cliché, I had grown up a lot and was a totally different person. I had always been such a home bird, quite shy and not that confident. Within a few weeks of being back I had found myself an internship in a swatch studio in Brighton and moved down there. This was the start of my fashion career!

I have always loved putting clothes together and experimenting with different looks too, some more questionable than others! Although, the styling side of things for me didn’t come in to play until I had had my baby boy, Gabriel! Long nights awake feeding him, meant I had a lot of free time! That’s when I started doing my fashion edits on Instagram. I started noticing more people asking for my advice or opinion and the girls from my baby group were the first ones that put the styling idea in my head! However, this was harder than I thought once I went back to work full time. I would occasionally help other creative friends with styling for their brands or personally style friends and family but, in terms, of making it a proper business I just didn’t have the time I needed to get it up and running.

Then Covid came along! I was a senior knitwear designer for a Manchester supplier and they decided they needed to make redundancies. Unfortunately, ladieswear was still small for them, so we were all made redundant. Although it has been tough, like for so many, I have enjoyed the slower pace of life and the silver lining is I have been able to really work out how to push my styling and work for myself!

A recent shoot I styled for Parrot London

As a Personal Stylist, what do you find most challenging?

Obviously, with me starting this business up through lockdown, I would say the hardest thing has been not being able to see clients face to face. Part of what I do, is to meet the client, go through her wardrobe with her and edit it, before we add in new pieces, so doing this virtually has been challenging, although not impossible.

Describe your style in one sentence

Oh wow this is so hard haha!! Probably an eclectic mix of high street and vintage with a casual edge.

Sophie wearing the Lilac Contemporary Trouser.

Tell us the story behind your favourite item of clothing

I actually have two! The first one is a hand knitted Aran cable knit jumper that is actually my dads but I love it so much he said I could have it haha! My dad’s a doctor and when he was a junior doctor back in about 1983, he performed his first operation, removing an appendix from a lovely lady that then knitted him the jumper as a thank you!!

My second is actually a dress I’ve never worn, which I know sounds strange! It’s a Lanvin dress that has been passed down to me and originally came from my great auntie Audrey. It’s so amazing and I love it but I need get it altered a bit and something just keeps stopping me from doing it, I’m not sure what, so it remains in my wardrobe for now!

Your posts on Instagram are so consistent, how do you manage your content?

So, it’s a bit of juggling really. I didn’t realise how much work goes in to Instagram, until I decided to give it a go properly! I use the app UNUM to plan out my photos so my whole page looks nice. In terms of content, I usually have a little plan in my head each week of what I want to shoot or what’s coming from brands that I want to use. So, then I try to have a weekly little shoot of products. Saying that, if I don’t have enough photos or I’m just not really feeling anything I just won’t post.

I would like to be more loose with it if I’m honest, and take more photos daily and then post them but my reality is, with a toddler it doesn’t work very well and then I just get stressed haha!

As a working mum, how do you juggle your online time alongside spending time with Gabriel?

I try to only post first thing in the morning, mainly whilst G is having his breakfast and then once late afternoon or evening once my husband is home. I’ll tend to jump on throughout the day if G is asleep or distracted for a bit. I don’t want to constantly be on my phone, as I don’t think it’s good for either of us. Gabriel is now in nursery 2 days a week as well, so I’m sure on those 2 days I’m on my phone a lot more, oops!

What’s next for Maggie’s Style Edit?

Well, where do I start haha! I have so many ideas for Maggiesstyleedit and I’m very impatient, but I’m trying to do one thing at a time. At the moment, I am designing my website, so I can promote my business more and target my local area too. I am continuing to work with brands on styling their products etc and building a nice little network on Instagram full of lovely creative people, including yourself Jen :)

Follow Sophie on instagram @maggiesstyleedit

If you're a sustainable fashion enthusiast and enjoyed reading Sophie's interview, I'd like to invite you to share your thoughts and insights through this ongoing interview series. If you’d like to hear more about participating, please email jen@ajeneralstore.com for more details!

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